Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics put together a tremendous season in 2007-08 that ended with them winning the title, but Glen Davis thinks Rivers is overrated.
Davis was a rookie on that team who won 66 games in the regular season and downed the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the Finals, but he’s not buying that all the credit should be given to his former head coach. On the “In the Zone” podcast with Chris Broussard, Davis detailed his opinion of Rivers and the 2008 Celtics:
“What Doc had in ’08 was special, and he was lucky as hell. Lucky as hell. The year before that they were wearing trash bags (in the crowd). … But then the next year they win it, now he’s one of the best coaches ever? I’m just not feeling that, you know what I mean? You give credit to (Kevin Garnett). You give credit to Paul Pierce. You give credit to Ray Allen. Those are the guys that made sure whatever Doc needed to be done got done. And so now it’s easy for Doc to do his job.”
That year was undoubtedly Rivers’ best year at the helm of a team, and he’s never been able to replicate that success. As always, the credit needs to be handed out appropriately, and it’s no different with that team. Before Boston was able to go out and capture their title, Danny Ainge had to pull off the deals that brought over Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and that alone is worthy of a huge amount of credit and Davis rightfully acknowledged it:
“And then you give credit to Danny Ainge. That’s the one you give credit to because I know multiple times he had to talk to Doc just to say, ‘Hey Doc, leave them alone. Hey Doc, ease up. Like, there’s points where you ease up.’ I would play good games and Doc wouldn’t even give me like, hey. I’d play great games and he’d be: ‘Go do it again.’ You know? You want to hear that, ‘Hey, great job kid. Good job, man. Keep it up.’ But not, ‘Go do it again.’ So I’m off that Doc tip man.”
Now that the big three is formed, it’s Rivers job to bring all of his guys together, and by no means is that “easy.” At the time of their construction, Garnett, Allen and Pierce were all superstars and bringing multiple premier players together to win a championship is a daunting task. If that were the case, the Miami Heat wouldn’t have lost to Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals.
For most of his coaching career, Rivers has been fortunate enough to be surrounded with great players, but that’s what plays a part in someone’s greatness; Kenny Atkinson could be the greatest coach ever, but we won’t notice it since he has mediocre talent at best.
Building on that, I’ve never heard anyone mention Rivers as an all-time great coach because sustained success is what fuels that argument. Furthermore, it’s tough picking the Clippers as a contender because there are too many variables. Great coaches have a knack for keeping their organizations in championship talks no matter what.
Rivers has carved out a nice tenure, but there have been few individuals with the power of reversing a franchise’s fortune.
Start a conversation with me on Twitter